Howard Berman Statement on Administration Support for Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System

Press Release

By:  Howard Berman
Date: March 27, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and author of the "Iron Dome Support Act" (IDSA) released the following statement after the Administration's announcement in support of Israel's Anti-Missile System.

"Iron Dome is a game changer," said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA). "The threats Israel faces from incoming, indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks are countered by this cutting edge anti-missile system. Iron Dome is fundamentally shifting political, diplomatic and military realities on the ground, while saving lives of innocent Israelis. Today's statement is a further step in the right direction."

During recent waves of rocket attacks, the Israel Defense Forces stated that the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system has achieved a success rate of more than 90 percent, intercepting rockets targeting civilian centers.

Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, U.S. Rep Steve Chabot (R-OH), the Chairman of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), and U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY).

Since the bill was introduced on March 21, twenty-three Members of Congress have co-sponsored IDSA.

The Berman-authored legislation authorizes the President to provide assistance if requested by the Israeli government to procure additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems.

In a recent op-ed in Politico, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren wrote, "Three Iron Dome batteries are currently stationed in southern Israel…Yet an additional 10 batteries, at least, will be necessary to protect the entire country… For America, as well as for Israel, an investment in the Iron Dome system is an investment in diplomacy -- helping to create the conditions conducive to peace."

Berman is a long-time advocate of Israeli missile defense and has previously sponsored legislation to support that effort. During the last Congress, Rep. Berman was a co-author of the U.S.- Israel Rocket and Missile Defense Cooperation and Support Act of 2010, which supported President Obama's request to provide an additional $205 million in U.S. assistance to support the deployment of Israel's Iron Dome rocket and missile defense system.

The DOD Statement issued by the Pentagon Press Secretary appears below:

"Supporting the security of the State of Israel is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary Panetta. The United States has previously provided $205 million in support of Israel's Iron Dome short range rocket and mortar defense system. During the rocket attacks earlier this month, the Iron Dome system played a critical role in Israel's security. When nearly 300 rockets and mortars were fired at southern Israel, Iron Dome intercepted over 80 percent of the targets it engaged, saving many civilian lives. The Department of Defense has been in conversations with the Government of Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity."